A Burnsville High School music teacher charged with having sex with a student and sending explicit Snapchats to another allegedly sent “inappropriate messages” to young members of the Minneapolis church where he worked as a youth choral director, according to an e-mail sent to members.
Erik Michael Akervik, 29, was charged this week with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and electronic solicitation of a minor.
He was terminated from Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, where he worked for the past six years. In the e-mail sent Thursday, Interim Senior Pastor Dennis Johnson said other students have come forward.
“We are saddened and shocked by the information that has come to light in the past week, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims,” Johnson wrote. “We have also heard from several youth at Mount Olivet who have received inappropriate messages from Mr. Akervik. These incidents are being reported to the appropriate authorities.”
In the e-mail, Johnson implores church members to contact the church or Burnsville police if they have any further information.
“Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our children, as well as our entire Church community,” Johnson wrote. “Mount Olivet has always been a safe place for youth and we are committed to making sure it always will be.”
Akervik made his first court appearance Wednesday and was released after posting $100,000 bail.
According to charges, Akervik allegedly began messaging a male 15-year-old student via Snapchat, which lets users share photos that quickly disappear.
Akervik sent a message to the student that said, “ I’d like to get to know you closer and better,” the criminal complaint said. The conversation lasted a couple of days and then the student began receiving nude photos of Akervik.
Police then located another student, who said Akervik invited him to his Burnsville apartment in December, when he was 16. The two were watching TV when Akervik began kissing him. The two engaged in a sex act, the charges said.
Before he was in Burnsville, Akervik worked as a music teacher for Minneapolis Public Schools. From 2010 to 2013, he was a music teacher for Jefferson Community School in Uptown. He also worked as a youth choral director at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis for six years, Jackie Enestvedt of the church’s communications department said on Monday.
“There were no complaints” against him and he was well-respected in the music and youth departments, she said. Enestvedt could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday night.
Akervik’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 11 in Hastings.